Bibliophile | ‘The Cobra Queen’ by Tara Moss

The Cobra Queen
by Tara Moss
Echo Publishing

Tara Moss has many strings to her bow. As a best-selling author, her novels have been published in nineteen countries and in thirteen languages. A PHD candidate at the University of Sydney with a Cert III in Private Investigation, her thirteenth novel is the fourth in the Pandora English series.

Pandora English grew up in sleepy Gretchenville but now lives with her Great Aunt Celia in a rambling Neo-Gothic Victorian mansion in Spektor, a suburb of Manhattan that doesn’t actually appear on any maps. She works at a boutique fashion magazine as assistant to the editor and has a spirit guide.

There are echoes of Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight as Pandora struggles to live in both the supernatural and the regular worlds. Despite having a rich, handsome boyfriend, Pandora would rather spend time with Lieutenant Luke, a spirit form the American Civil War who is “livelier that you would expect, and considerably more beautiful that any spirit guide has a right to be”.

When Pandora has to participate in a night-time shoot for an upcoming Egyptian-themed summer collection at the Metropolitan Museum, a myriad of coincidences collide. Pandora’s parents were killed when she was 11 years old on an archeological expedition to the Temple of Dendur in Egypt. This temple has since been gifted to the US by the Egyptian government and was dismantled and reassembled in the museum.

In between getting soy lattes for her boss, Pandora is responsible for saving the world (or New York at least) from countless supernatural beings. There’s the deadly rising green mist of the dead wanting to take over the living world as well as the ghost of Hatshepsut, an ancient Egyptian female pharaoh (the queen who made herself into a king in the fifteenth century BC).

The plot thickens with seething supernatural possibilities, but the journey is all about Pandora discovering her powers and evolving from the small-town girl who was lacking in self-belief. Like Twilight, it is about love, family, crossing species boundaries and the heroine expanding her mind and discovering her powers.

Lezly Herbert